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REPORT: The Water of Systems Change from FSG

The Water of Systems Change, an FSG article, aims to clarify what it means to shift the conditions holding problems in place and provides an actionable model for those interested in creating systems change. Through defining the 6 conditions of systems change and highlighting organizations that are shifting systems, the article explores:

  • How systemic conditions perpetuate inequity and reinforce racism, sexism, or ableism.
  • The critical need for foundations to focus on changing relationships and connections, power dynamics, and mental models in their work.
  • How foundations can build the capacity to support systems change internally and externally.

Top takeaways:

  • Systems change is about advancing equity by shifting the conditions that hold a problem in place.
  • To fully embrace systems change, funders should be prepared to see how their own ways of thinking and acting must change as well.
  • Shifts in system conditions are more likely to be sustained when working at three different levels of change: explicit, semi-explicit, and implicit

To read the report and/or watch a webinar about it:

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